I have dated many men who felt the need to recant and rail on about every sexual encounter they have ever had.
I always thought this is why good friends are created. Much like Carrie and the girls discussing every dating and sexual triumph and hiccup over scrambled eggs and coffee, good friends allow us to trade stories, guffaw at amusing anecdotes and problem solve in the most fun and loving ways.
Many of the men I’ve known don’t feel this way.
Sharing sexual history always comes across as bravado and the need to convince the current paramour of our desirability. If I’m dating you, I probably find you desirable on at least one level. So why do we need to share any and all information ?
On more than one occasion, I have had to point out the difference between honesty and confession. When discussing things, we have to look at the why and what is it we are attempting to accomplish.
Sharing sexual history to determine current sexual practices (protected or unprotected sex, recent std and HIV testing and its frequency) makes sense.
People often confuse the desire to be honest (sharing emotional lessons and disappointments, joy or upset) with being confessional (let me tell you about the best blow job I ever had, the size of someone else’s cock or the sexual detail of every encounter myself and my ex-partner shared).
When I’ve been privy to some of these little gems, I have often questioned the person with a simple, direct response: Why are you telling me this and is there something else you want to address ?
This is typically met with shrugged shoulders and a whole lot of bewildered blank-eyed stares.
Most men want emotional honesty without knowing what this means and how to obtain it. We are culturally seduced to believe that emotional honesty is unimportant and what matters is what is between your legs and how you use it. We are culturally seduced to value what we do (action/sexual activity) over what we feel or need (honesty regarding how we felt in past situations and how it intrinsically influences our current relationship).
As Nathaniel Branden states in his brilliant book : What Love Asks of Us ? ” If a partner feels driven to talk too much about past relationships, or ask for too many details bout yours it may be necessary to look in to the unmet needs behind the insistence on sexual “honesty” (p. 155).
I have often been accused of “keeping secrets” and yapping far too much. If I’m sharing , hopefully it is not a contest but an honest attempt at being close (er) to my significant other.
Even though there have been times when my competitive nature has taken over and allowed “sharing” to become a good ol’ fashioned pissing contest, I have seen the trouble this invites and the potential for problems this creates. Much like actors competing to let all within earshot know that any role is theirs and can be mastered, sharing sexual hijinks and who wanted “me” always seemed kind of pointless once it left my lips.
And yet I did it and know others who have done the same.
I have heard friends share previous sexual exploits in front of others while their partner stood by pretending not to care or resigning themselves to that trite standby : He’s mine now. He’s going home with me.
I have heard people say that discussing or going over the past is ok and what is the big deal.
No one has ever been able to explain how constant and unrelenting sexual history discussion improves their relationship. They can all talk about being insecure or that things in the past don’t matter.
My question is always the same : then why do it ?
So what are your real reasons for sharing the details of your past ?
Does this bother you when your partner does this ?